In Memory of Sheryl Jan Robertson
July 20, 1947- April 18, 2003
"I belonged to the American Brain Tumor Association email group on-line and I asked for help and opinions. I was blasted with emails from around the country telling me to get my mother to Duke Brain Tumor Center right away and Dr. Henry Friedman could help her fight for more life."...
Our mother Sheryl Jan Robertson was a vibrant, beautiful, fun, loving mother, teacher and friend. She was the 1st Speech Therapist in the school where she taught for 28 years until that day.........
On May 25, 2001 our lives changed forever. My aunt called me at work and told me our mother was in the hospital and I needed to get there right away. When I arrived the Dr.'s told me the prognosis was not good, our mother had a stroke, and they did not know if she could pull out of the horrible grandmal seizure she had endured. I was stunned, scared and not sure what to do. I started working with my mother and told her I was right by her side, and to work with me to fight back to breathe on her own. She was a strong person to begin with, and I know she would do anything for me and my brother. After five days, she was slowly breathing on her own again!
This was only the beginning. So, for five months the Dr.'s kept saying she had a stroke and it would take time for her to heal. Only she kept getting worse. It was October 16, 2001.....she came to me and said that she had the worse head ache of her life and I needed to help her somehow, someway. We went to the local emergency room to find out that she had a brain tumor the size of a grapefruit all on the right side of her head. They care-flighted her out to UT Southwestern in Dallas, Texas. There they did emergency surgery, at this time she was diagnosed with Oligodendraglioma grade 3. She recovered well, and they started the treatments: chemo.
We were told she had not long to live and the prognosis was not good. So, we packed up and went to MD Anderson, Houston for another opinion. There we were told our mother had Multiforme Glioblastoma grade 4. In the mean time I had been searching for the right answer...I knew there was more out there for my mother. She was only 52 years old at the time. I did not except the answer "she only had six months to live". I belonged to the American Brain Tumor Association email group on-line and I asked for help and opinions.
I was blasted with emails from around the country telling me to get my mother to Duke Brain Tumor Center right away and Dr. Henry Friedman could help her fight for more life. I contacted Duke on December 23, 2001 and we were on the next plane out on December 24, 2001. We met Dr. Henry Friedman on Christmas Eve day for the initial visit. He told us right away....."there is HOPE for our mother. It is not up to him to tell her how many days or years she has to live, but at Duke they have the treatment, and they will go as far as my mother wants to go and fight as much as my mother wanted to fight."
We finally had found the RIGHT place! HOPE.....is what we needed, time is what we needed and people that understood my mother's cancer. We got all of that! We flew every two months from Granbury, Texas to Duke for my mothers treatment. Duke was our "family" away from home. October 17, 2002 the tumor had come back with a vengeance. It had grown again to the size of a baseball this time. Dr. Friedman said she needed surgery again. We lived at Duke for a month while our mother was recovering. At first she was doing good, but then the tumor grew back again. This time....our mother said, " I have gotten the time I needed to say my goodbyes, I have been given HOPE, and now is the time to just live as long as I can without any treatment and let what may take its course." And so....we lived, laughed, cried and loved as we always did until April 18, 2003. Our mother flew on Eagles Wings and went to heaven to be our "Angel."
To this day, I can still hear my mother saying," I know I do not have the time to go to Angels Among Us....but I know you do, so you can go for me...in memory of me.....but I will be there with you when you go."
We are thankful for Duke and the staff and all the Angels that helped our family through Jan's Journey! What an amazing place!
Heather Cain, daughter of Jan Robertson
Larry Cain, son-in-law of Jan Robertson
Reed Robertson, son of Jan Robertson